Thoughts on freedom and love for the young

Do not be bowled over. Can pictures of amateurs be put together in a collage to tell thought-provoking stories for our youth? Yes, they can be, as a recent very creative and unique exhibition by the J Krishnamurti Foundation in Chennai, in memory of the late thinker, demonstrated.

Freedom, education, entertainment and love, four motifs that dominate the youths’ consciousness, more so in emerging economies like India, came alive through vivid colourful pictures that were not just meant to entice, but also to enlighten young men and women under the theme, ‘A World in Crisis’.  

The pictures are quite new. But their captions not so new, quotes from texts and talks that bring out Krishnamurti’s insights that can go with any news photograph today. “It is more journalism, stories with a human touch being re-told as they hold well even now,” says Mr. K. Krishnamurthy of the Krishnamurti Foundation India (KFI), the moving spirit of this initiative.

 So is love pleasure or is love any sentiment? These may seem age-old questions, but have almost disappeared from the discourse of the youth today amid the rat race for jobs and money. When even parents shy away from discussing these issues with their children openly, Krishnamurti had done it with all the candour and ease of a free, enquiring spirit decades ago.

And it is the benefits of those “insights” that the KFI wants to be taken to our listless youth looking for a deep purpose and easily dejected when they find none. “It is part of our efforts to create an awareness of Krishnamurti's insights into the contemporary crisis as well as the eternal problems of human existence,” says K. Krishnamurti. “Through his quotes, we have tried to highlight what people should look at, not avoid,” he told Deccan Herald.  Just sample these quotes: “Obviously, love is not sentiment. Sentimentality, emotionalism, is merely a form of self-expansion.” Neither is love the opposite of anything. “It is not the opposite of hate or violence. Love is not conflict; love does not know jealousy, hatred, anger, ambition. Love, surely, is a total feeling that is not sentimental and in which there is no sense of separation.” Such words from the late philosopher illuminate an entire picture frame on “Love - And What You Call Love”. In all KFI has put together 24 such frames on different themes of vital importance to youth. The point is when you walk through these exhibits – not just in English, but also in Telugu and Tamil-, in the picturesque garden setting of ‘Vasantha Vihar’ here - home to Krishnamurti whenever he was in old Madras till his last public talk in January 1986 – it is a different experience of elation. Whether it be on ‘Religion’ - there is a telling AP picture of a Muslim youth crying for mercy to be spared during the 2002 Gujarat riots to show what a ‘circus’ we have made of religion-, ‘freedom’, ‘war’ or 'an unequal world’, there is always a question or some wise words of clarity from Krishnamurti that calms the rush-of-blood headiness of the youth.

The exhibition is a practical therapy in that sense to any disturbed mind, and one great virtue about Jiddu Krishnamurti is that he never talked down to his audience, never condescending, treating all those who seek to dialogue with him as equals. Only a mind “that has no fear is capable of love,” he says. Coming from a great Soul who consciously disowned all riches that came his way from different parts of the world, it sounds more authentic.

To enable visitors to go over these quotes from Krishnamurti at leisure, they have also been compiled into a booklet, which makes for absorbing readying. This exhibition is also meant to be put up in various cities and towns of India, says K.Krishnamurti. Schools, colleges, NGOs and cultural organizations keen to host this exhibition could write to the Secretary, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Chennai, at the e-mail, ‘kfihq@md2.vsnl.net.in’, added K. Krishnamurti.

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